Auckland, September 13, 2017
While current members of Parliament are on full pay as they represent their Party and ask for your vote, Parties that are outside of parliament stump up for most costs themselves.
No government limos, free air travel and fully funded secretaries for them. It is either using up accrued leave, taking leave without pay, or working during the day and politicking at night.
No wonder then, that they get so aggrieved when they are ignored by the media. Not only are they working to pay their own way, but their tax money is being used to promote their opposition!
No media time equals no public recognition, which means poor polling, which means even less exposure, and so it spirals downwards for these few brave people who are willing to put their head above the parapet for a cause or an idea.
At the same time, Parties in Parliament get disproportionate amounts of funding to buy broadcasting time, and are constantly interviewed (free time) for their views, while those outside are almost completely ignored.
When the two bigger Parties said that they would no longer debate with the lesser mortals, the correct response from the media would have been to tell them that they would only run debates with all Parties present.
Alas they did not, and now we have the media promoting the view that there are only two Parties worth voting for.
It may be worth remembering that these Parties have shared the helm in New Zealand’s political leadership, and while they decry each other and proclaim their suitability for the job, they share the combined responsibility of a country with a malfunctioning welfare system, over-crowded prisons, depleted Government assets and a youth population in crisis.
Let us also mention excessive waste in government circles, less affordable housing, struggling families, and a health service unable to meet the demands.
Perhaps just a whiff of fresh thinking from political minnows might be enough for voters to look deeper into the policies of Parties championed and run by passionate volunteers.
Maybe they do have something to offer.
Leighton Baker is Leader of Conservative Party based in Auckland.